“My conscience no longer allows me to remain in the current Labour Party which has abandoned anyone who is neither rich or healthy.”
The exodus from Newham Labour party in protest at the party’s ‘blatant Islamophobia’, war on its members and their democracy and the local and national leadership’s imitation of the Tories has seen a string of constituency and branch party chairs resign their positions and membership in disgust.
Now other elected officers are going too. Branch disability officer Linda Laurie has written to Keir Starmer and general secretary David Evans of the party’s bigotry toward disabled people and its failure to protect women, as well as the more general war on local parties and members:
Membership Number L1441763
To David Evans and Keir Starmer
I am writing to submit my resignation as Disability Officer for West Ham CLP and as a member of the Labour Party. I joined the Party in 2015 after moving to Newham, hoping that I could support other local disabled party members and raise awareness of the needs of the disabled community.
In 2019, prior to election of a new set of CLP officers, I and another female member complained to London Region about the aggressive, intimidating behaviour of some male, Labour councillors in Newham which made us as women feel threatened and unsafe. We received no response. The Chair and Secretary of our CLP acted towards members in a bullying and belittling way. When they attempted to raise this or emailed the officers concerned about this, they were ignored. I have also witnessed discriminatory and derogatory language towards disabled people from a Newham Labour councillor.
Since March 2020 our CLP has, without any reasonable explanation, been either suspended or in special measures. The voice of members, including those who are disabled, has been silenced. Despite attending ward meetings regularly since joining the Party, none of my ward councillors has contacted myself or other disabled members during the pandemic to ascertain that we are safe and to ask if there is any way in which they or Newham Council can offer disabled people living and/or working in the borough any support. I am angry and disappointed that since the election of Starmer and appointment of David Evans in 2020, the Labour Party has become a “safe” place for only a minority of its members.
Islamophobia is rife and the huge amount of poverty and disadvantage experienced by disabled people in the UK is ignored by Labour politicians. The Labour Party appeals to its members to donate money to it, canvass for its candidates and work to promote its policies. Currently the Party leadership offers nothing to me as a working class, female, disabled voter and has ensured that I and other disabled people have no voice within it.
I receive emails asking me to canvass and vote for its candidates and donate money whilst denying me a voice to raise issues of concern to myself and other members. I prefer to give my energy to campaigning and supporting local people who, under our current Labour council are suffering tremendously. Vulnerable women and children are housed in disgraceful and degrading ‘temporary’ accommodation whilst the housing waiting list in Newham grows longer and longer.
People have to rely on food banks to survive and are stuck on NHS waiting lists for months experiencing pain and a deterioration in the quality of their lives. The Labour Party remains silent. My conscience no longer allows me to remain in the current Labour Party which has abandoned anyone who is neither rich or healthy.
Labour’s grassroots campaigning force was one of its key strengths under Jeremy Corbyn. Under the right-wing regime, it continues to haemorrhage that support and is now struggling even to find candidates to stand in local government elections.
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